GOVERNMENT prosecutors will re-investigate the complaint against 13 rogue cops accused of recycling illegal drugs from legitimate police operations in 2013, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said yesterday.

“In the light of new evidence unfolding, and in the interest of justice, the Department of Justice will reopen the case,” he said in a mobile-phone message. The agency will create a new panel of prosecutors who will conduct the probe, he added.

National Police chief Oscar D. Albayalde is under fire from senators after he allegedly sought a halt to the dismissal of the rogue cops. Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron N. Aquino told senators last week the police chief, who was acting regional director for Metro Manila back in 2016, wanted to defer the enforcement of their firing because they were his people.

Mr. Albayalde earlier confirmed the phone conversation but said he was only checking the status of the cases against the policemen who were set to be fired over the questionable anti-drug operation.

Former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief Benjamin B. Magalong, now Baguio City mayor, told the Senate on Tuesday that on Nov. 29, 2013 the Pampanga Provincial Police Office conducted a buy-bust operation, and reported seizing only 38 kilograms of drugs and the arrest of a Chinese drug trafficker.

But further investigation showed the police had seized about 200 kilos of illegal drugs worth P648 million and about P10 million in cash. Findings also showed the drug trafficker had paid P50 million for the police to present a different Chinese national in his place, Mr. Magalong said.

Mr. Magalong said he later filed a case against the cops in 2014. An order for their dismissal was never implemented, he said

“Both sides will be given ample opportunity to present additional evidence,” Mr. Guevarra said “We shall try to resolve it in a month’s time, considering that this automatic review has been pending since 2017,” he added. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas